It’s widely agreed that dental implants are the gold standard when it comes to holistic tooth replacement. Traditionally comprised of a root, abutment and crown, or sometimes a root-abutment combination and a crown, dental implants restore the look and function of your teeth, and also replace the biological function of the lost tooth, preserving jaw integrity and the position and health of your bite.
Titanium dental implants are the most common type of implant oral surgeons use when replacing their patients’ lost teeth. But we offer our patients a non-metal alternative to titanium, should they have metal allergies or simply prefer a different option. Zirconia dental implants are a ceramic, taking the idea of natural mouth restoration a step past titanium and offering the same, and sometimes better, benefits.
Just as biocompatible as titanium and with just as high a success rate, for some patients, zirconia implants prove a better choice. At first, these ceramic dental implants were only available in one piece (root-abutment combo); but now that we can craft two-piece zirconia implants, we can better match and fit the teeth of a wider range of patients.
Dental Implants Made of Ceramic offer Advantages
Some things differ between titanium and zirconia dental implants, which are sometimes mistakenly referred to as zirconium dental implants. Chief among these differences is that titanium is metal and zirconia is ceramic. Zirconia implants contain zirconium, but in an oxidized form, which makes zirconia ceramic (both metal and non-metal).
While titanium is extremely biocompatible, sometimes people don’t want to risk a metal installation in their mouths. Zirconia is an innate substance, meaning the body does not react to it, so is viewed as a safer choice for people with allergies or other sensitivities. Other distinct differences of zirconia dental implants include:
- Zirconia implants have lower thermal conductivity than titanium, reducing the discomfort occasionally caused in titanium implants by hot and cold foods.
- There is no risk of the dark line at the root that is sometimes visible with titanium dental implants.
- Osseointegration is equal to, if not better than, titanium.
- Zirconia dental implants are more resistant to plaque and other calcitic buildup.
- It’s nearly impossible to corrode.
- Zirconia actually has flexural strength, so is compatible with the natural slight movements our teeth experience over time.
- Ceramic implants have low bacteria attraction.
- Zirconia is easily color-matched to natural teeth.
Why We’ll Never Throw out Titanium Dental Implants
Now, this doesn’t mean zirconia implants are for everybody; there are reasons titanium has been the standard in dental implant installations for so long:
- In thinner implants, titanium is more stable.
- Titanium has hundreds of clinical studies behind it, including long-term studies.
- It’s easier to adjust without compromising its resistance to breaking.
- Titanium dental implants have a lower failure rate than their ceramic counterparts.
- Zirconia implants degrade over time, which can result in structural failure if left undetected.
- Titanium allows for more customization of the angle of the root vs abutment of the implant more easily than in ceramic implants.
What’s important to consider when deciding between titanium and zirconia dental implants is, while zirconia is a bit more temperamental and a bit more susceptible to degradation, depending on the environment that is your mouth. Because clinical data is in its infancy, especially with two-piece zirconia implants, there is much less solid long-term information on how these ceramic installations behave over the course of decades.
Nevertheless, if your mouth is healthy, you prefer not to have metal implants, or you have health sensitivities that require you don’t, zirconia dental implants are just as safe and work just as well as their titanium counterparts; naturally, they just have different properties.
A Cincinnati Oral Surgeon Offering Ceramic Dental Implants to Eligible Patients
At our office, our focus on holistic tooth replacement and natural mouth restoration is one of comprehensive care that improves health and quality of life just as much as it improves looks. Our oral surgeon is well-versed and experienced in installing titanium and zirconia dental implants in a wide variety of patients.
Even patients with suboptimal jaw health may be eligible for dental implants with a bit of bone grafting and some careful care by our oral surgery staff. At your consultation, you can discuss whether the ceramic option for dental implants is the right option for you, or if it’s best to stick with tried-and-true titanium.
Whatever you choose, you can be sure our practice will provide you with the most skilled, gentle and affordable dental implant surgery you’ll find. Curious if dental implants are right for you and want to learn more about zirconia implants? Give our office a call or fill out our contact form online; we’d love to help.